#festivalseason - The Phillips Backyard Weekender delivered all I expected...And then some.

There was a ridiculous amount of great music at Phillips Brewery for the annual Backyard Weekender in Victoria this year and I could go on and on about it. I could tell you how The Revolution was better than anyone could have thought, laying down a set comprised entirely of some of Prince's best tracks – and even a couple surprises... “America,” anyone? Or how Victoria OG s, Murge and Verse – The Champion Sound, held it down between sets all damned weekend. Or I could tell you about the fiery and relentless disco assault of !!! (Chk Chk Chk) lit up a mostly unsuspecting crowd. In a weekend packed with highlights, here are the four acts that inspired my own lazy ass to get back to important work, like creating things and loving live music even of a fraction of how I used to.

Reggie Watts is so good at what he does that people now believe non-facts about Victoria.

Ask anyone who was there - apart from the two dudes I saw walk out early declaring, “This guy's a fucking weirdo.” - and they'll tell you that Reggie Watts' Saturday night performance at The Phillips Backyard Weekender was a incendiary force of creativity. It was funny, fresh and relentless. It demanded attention to mine its deep rewards. During his set, which my words will never do justice to, Watts told the potted “history” of spare ribs. We all had a good chuckle. Early the next day, whilst in the smoke-pit, I overheard a discussion about the improvised glory that Watts laid down the previous night. “He must have done a lot of serious research about Victoria. Like, he talked about the history of the spare rib and how it came from Victoria. I didn't know that!” “I'm from Victoria and I didn't know that!” These are actual things I overheard. Are there hundreds or possibly thousands of people out in Victoria now spreading the wholly false idea that Victoria is the legit home of the spare rib? God, I hope so.

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#festivalseason - The Phillips Backyard Weekender rides once again, groovier than ever.

I remember when I used to go to the Phillips Backyard Weekender and see a few people I know. And by 2018 it's grown into one of the crown-jewels of Victoria's rich musical summer, a place where I am bound to see countless familiar places, while – and this part is of the utmost importance – we get down with a full-slate of fantastically chosen music. With the return of the Pinic-er Stage featuring a lineup boasting some of Vancouver Island and Vancouver's freshest talents, as well as a full slate of afterparties each night, the good folks behind The Weekender, Atomique Productions, have doubled down on making this one of Vic City's best dance parties this year. The main stage at the Weekender is absolutely dripping with groove and that's where we're going to be focusing our attentions here. It doesn't matter which stage you're spending your time, if you're paying attention you're going to see some great music. And while I'd like to recommend everything here, that would be ridiculous. But if you pay particular attention when I tell you to, you're probably going to have a helluva time – bolstered by your own, wonderful decisions as well.

It all starts right off the bat as music opens with the mighty GROSSBUSTER. Both one of Victoria's finest beatmakers and owners of one of the city's most immaculate beards (A true feat considering how many people in this place make beats and/or have beards), Grossbuster has impressed me every time I've caught one of his sets over the last half decade. Even, hell especially, when he comes out with a set comprised of stuff you've never heard him play, seemingly out of nowhere. With an endless arsenal and roots in hip-hop (Just like I like), you can rest pretty assured that his set is going to be the perfect way to start your weekend. So, don't be a pylon and make sure to get down to site early.

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#festivalseason - The Phillips Backyard Weekender brings the goods once again in year 5.

In a very short time, the Phillips Backyard Weekender has grown into a calendar-mark-worthy event in the Victoria summer. Over three days, the Weekender – hosted in the back lot of Phillips Brewery, the brightest jewel in world of Victoria beer – annually brings a lineup that stretches across a staggeringly vast array of genres and moods, bringing a little something for everyone, no matter where your tastes fall in the musical spectrum. This year was no different – with a newly added second stage (Dubbed the “Picnic-er”) packed with local talent, and a main stage that rarely experienced downtime, the Weekender was yet another feast for those with big musical appetites. There was a ton of tunes to take in and process, but here are the acts that made each pop and crack for this lover of groove.

Friday – Oddisee

I've been obsessed with The Iceberg, since its release in February of this year. It's one of the most thoughtful, precise and powerful records of any genre, not just hip-hop, that's come across my ears in some time. A new Oddisee album is always a welcome gift to the world, but the good homie really kicked it up a notch with The Iceberg and I to say I was excited to see these songs live would have been an understatement. Oddisee came to Victoria ready to go. The sound was fantastic, all of Oddisee's intensely thoughtful and precise raps were crystal clear – overcoming an all-too-common problem with live hip-hop shows. Audience interaction is and always should be a huge part of rap and Oddisee kept everyone engaged with the show having the crowd sing along with varied, and properly spaced out, singalongs, including Iceberg standout “Like Really.” (I've been singing “notlikereally” in a loop to myself for a week now.) With all that interaction there was very little asking us to throw our hands in the air. In fact, he only asked us to do it once, which is the correct number of times to instruct the crowd to throw their hands up.

“Hold It Back” and “Want To Be Free” pulsed and roared on that crisp soundsystem, Oddisee's nimble raps dancing around and through the beats. The rapid-fire rhymes of “Killing Time” from 2013's Tangible Dream were a welcome surprise, but the incredible sets highlight might have been a trap remix of “Want Something Done.” The track was a perfect display of Oddisee's immense talent as an MC, reworking lyrics originally set to a more classicist hip-hop beat and shifting them to perfectly fit a hyper-modern beat. Oddisee would be achieve Lord status in any era of hip-hop. We're incredibly lucky to have him working so prolifically right now, in our time. I talked with a number of people who were at the festival who pointed to the good homie as their “festival discovery” and the world is probably a little bit better of a place for it. A huge thank you to the folks behind the Weekender for bringing Oddisee to Victoria and giving him a proper introduction to the city I call home.

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